The Storm Shifts the Signboards
In olden days, when grandfather was just a little boy and wore red trousers, a red jacket, a sash around his waist, and a feather in his cap - for that's the way little boys dressed in his childhood when they wore their best clothes - so many things were different from nowadays. There were often street pageants, which we don't see now, for they have been done away with, because they became old-fashioned; but it's fun to hear Grandfather tell about them.
It must have been quite a show to see the shoemakers move their signboard when they changed to a new guild hall. A big boot and a two-headed eagle were painted on their waving silken banner; the youngest journeymen carried the welcome cup and the guild chest, and had red and white ribbons dangling from their shirt sleeves; the older ones wore naked swords with lemons stuck on the points. They had a full band, and the best of their instruments was "The Bird," as Grandfather called the long pole with the half moon and all sorts of sounding dingle-dangle things on it - real Turkish music. It was lifted up and swung, and it was dazzling to the eyes when the sun shone on all that polished gold and silver and brass.
In front of the procession ran a Harlequin in clothes made of many-colored patches, with a black face and with bells on his head, like a sleigh horse. He struck the people with his wand, which made a noise without hurting, and the people pushed against each other to move back and forth; little boys and girls fell over their own feet right into the gutters; old women elbowed their way along, looking sour and scolding. Some people laughed and some people chatted; there were spectators on the steps and in the windows, and, yes, even on the roofs. The sun shone; a little rain fell on the people now and then, but that was a good thing for the farmers; and when finally they became wet through, that was a real blessing to the country.
Ah, what stories Grandfather could tell! When he was a little boy he had seen all that grand show at the height of its splendor.